There was plenty of hype and excitement heading into Russell Westbrook’s debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. However, things did not go as planned, as Westbrook had a game to forget and the Lakers lost to the Golden State Warriors, 121-114.
Just about nothing went right for the Lakers point guard. He finished the game with eight points, five rebounds and four assists on 4-for-13 from the field and 0-for-4 from three. He also turned the ball over four times and found himself lost in the Lakers’ defensive rotations.
For those concerned about Westbrook’s fit on the team, Opening Night gave just about every piece of evidence one needs to say that this may not work. However, there was less concern from Westbrook and the Lakers.
“I just got to figure it out. It’s that simple,” Westbrook said following the game.
Frank Vogel gave a little more detail as to what went wrong and how it can be fixed. “Him more than anybody, it’s going to be an adjustment period. He’s coming into our culture, our system. He’s the new guy and he’s got to find his way.
“It’s difficult when you are used to being the guy that has the ball most nights to be able to play off of others like Bron and AD. So it’s just a little bit different for him. He’s going to be great for us, but it’s going to be an adjustment period.”
Vogel added that he wants to see more aggression from his point guard moving forward though. “We want him to be aggressive. That part is easy. He’ll stay aggressive, he’ll stay in attack mode. It’s just figuring out the teammates around him and that’ll come.”
Throughout training camp and the preseason, the Lakers stressed that things were going to take time to develop. Beyond Westbrook, the Lakers brought in 12 new players that were not on the team last season. Even though most of those players are seasoned veterans, it’s still an adjustment for everyone.
That sentiment didn’t go away because the calendar flipped to the regular season. It may be a little while before the Lakers have a good sense of what they want to look like on a nightly basis. Especially with L.A. missing four of their rotation pieces — Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and Wayne Ellington — it may look ugly at times.
Westbrook didn’t say much publicly, but it’s very clear there will be some conversations and film analysis with the entirety of the roster before they head back out on the court for their next game.
“I’ll look at it and see. Watch the film and see, but we didn’t win so maybe some stuff but not much, at least from my perspective,” Westbrook concluded.
Westbrook didn’t feel extra emotions during debut in hometown
Even though the game didn’t go how he wanted, it was still a monumental night for Westbrook as he played his first game as a member of the Lakers, the hometown team he grew up rooting for.
Despite that though, he didn’t feel any extra emotions.
“Nothing different than a normal game, just happened to be at home.”
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